Functions in Excel are just built-in formulas. They have been added to simplify performing specific mathematical operations in the spreadsheet.
Related Tutorial: Excel 2007 / 2010 PRODUCT Function
One of these functions is the PRODUCT function, which can be used when multiplying numbers or a range of values together.
Multiplying Numbers with the Product Function
An example of multiplying two numbers, such as 235 and 546, using the PRODUCT function would be:
=PRODUCT( 235 , 546 )
The answer of 128,310 will appear in the cell where you type the function.
While this approach to using the PRODUCT function works, it limits the usefulness of the function. A better way of using the function is to type the numbers you are multiplying into cells on the spreadsheet and then enter those cell references (the address of the cells) into the function.
For example, if we enter the numbers 235 and 546 into cells C1 and C2, we would write the function as:
=PRODUCT( C1:C2 )
The answer is still 128,310, but the advantage of this approach is that if the numbers ever change, you only need to change the numbers in cells C1 or C2 and the function automatically updates the answer.
For example, if you find that the number in C1 wasn't 235 but 230, simply type 230 in cell C1 and the function updates the answer to 128,580.
This approach works well for instances where you have constantly changing numbers – say on a monthly income statement where the income amounts get multiplied by set numbers to find deduction rates for taxes, pensions, or medical benefits.
Note: If your answer to this example appears without the comma ( , ) separator, read the tutorial page on applying comma formatting.